Tri-Cities senator’s 100-percent small-business score earns her ‘Guardian of Small Business’ award
Since her arrival in the Legislature, Sen. Sharon Brown has been a vocal advocate for employers and the Senate’s leading voice for regulatory reform, working tirelessly to make it easier for entrepreneurs and small-business owners to grow, expand and hire more workers.
Brown, R-Kennewick, was recently recognized for her legislative work in support of job creators by the National Federation of Independent Business, which named her a “Guardian of Small Business.” Brown is one of only 15 state senators to receive a 100 percent “Small Business Score” from the organization.
“Small-business owners appreciate the focus Senator Sharon Brown has brought to reducing the regulatory burden Olympia places on our state’s job creators,” said NFIB Washington State Director Patrick Connor. “Thanks to Senator Brown’s leadership, busy entrepreneurs may soon have a true one-stop, online portal for business licensing, tax payments and permit applications so they can spend less time on paperwork and more time getting Washingtonians back to work.”
Last year, Brown partnered with Rep. Norma Smith from Whidbey Island to shepherd through the Legislature two bills aimed at improving the regulatory environment for Washington businesses.
Senate Bill 5679 improves the state’s business climate and stimulates job creation by requiring the Department of Ecology, the Department of Labor and Industries and the Department of Health to annually perform a formal review of their rules and establish a process for effectively retiring rules when applicable.
Senate Bill 5718 requires the Legislature to monitor the progress of an action plan for creating a single online location through which all businesses in Washington may interact with state government.
Both measures passed with large bipartisan support.
During the 2014 legislative session, Brown continued her work on behalf of small business and those Washingtonians looking for work by introducing a bill aimed at increasing transparency and predictability in permitting. Senate Bill 6045, also known as the Transparency in Permitting Act, received broad bipartisan support; the House of Representatives’ version of the bill was signed into law earlier this year.
“My top legislative priority is looking for ways to stimulate our state’s sluggish economy so that our employers are in a better position to maintain and create new jobs,” said Brown. “Our employers need to see state government as a partner in job creation, not as their biggest obstacle.
“I’m honored to receive this recognition from NFIB and extremely proud that on the bills that mattered most to our small-business community, I was able to be there 100 percent of the time.”
Brown also thanked the members of NFIB for their work educating lawmakers about issues impacting small businesses.
“NFIB is a key ally in the battle to create jobs,” said Brown. “Its staff and members testify on legislation, educating lawmakers and the public on the impact of bills and serving as the voice of small business in Olympia.”
Brown says there is still much work to do in order to improve Washington’s overall business climate, pointing to the need for business-and-occupation tax reform, as well as smarter energy policies that recognize hydropower and the potential for nuclear power to provide clean, affordable, carbon-free energy for businesses and consumers.
She also highlighted the need for the Legislature to do more to attract manufacturing jobs.
“One of the biggest disappointments of the 2014 session was the House’s failure to vote on my bill to bring family-wage manufacturing and construction jobs back to our state,” said Brown.
Brown’s Reinvest in Washington Jobs Act, Senate Bill 6515, would have created a pilot program to provide a business-tax credit for a portion of the construction costs of up to five new manufacturing facilities. It had nearly universal support from across the political spectrum, as well as from organized labor and employers, yet the measure never came up in the House for a final up-or-down vote.
“It is baffling to me why the House would leave those manufacturing jobs on the table,” said Brown, “but I will continue to push for smart ideas that help attract new employers and new jobs to our state.
“We must continue efforts to make it easier, more predictable and less costly to do business in Washington.”